The October 8, 2005, Kashmir earthquake (M 7.6) triggered several thousand landslides, mainly rock falls and rock slides, in the epicentral area near the cities of Muzafarrabad and Balakot, Pakistan. Most of these were shallow, coalescing rock slides emanating from highly sheared and deformed limestone and dolomite of the Precambrian Muzafarrabad Formation. The largest landslide triggered by the earthquake is located approximately 32 kilometers southeast of Muzafarrabad in a tributary valley of the Jhelum River. This landslide is a debris avalanche of approximately 80 million cubic meters volume within the Miocene Murree Formation consisting of mixed sandstone, mudstone, shale, and limestone. The avalanche buried the village of Dandbeh and resulted in approximately 1,000 fatalities, according to local residents. The avalanche deposit traveled approximately 1.5 kilometers downslope and 300 meters or more up the opposite slope in the adjacent Karli stream drainage and also extended into the Tang stream drainage where the Tang stream joins the Karli drainage. The landslide mass has impounded two lakes within the blocked drainages. The lake in the Karli drainage was approximately 800 meters long and 20 meters deep as of December 19, 2005. The lake in the Tang drainage was approximately 400 meters long and 10 meters deep as of this same date. Downstream populations are at risk from possible flash flooding when these debris dams are overtopped by the reservoir water. The closest village, Hattian, is 2.8 kilometers downstream at the junction of the Jhelum River and the landslide-dammed Karli tributary. Other populations along the Jhelum River may also be at risk. Pakistan military engineers are preparing to construct a spillway within the landslide deposits to lessen the severity of the flood if the lake in the Karli stream drainage breaches the landslide dam catastrophically.
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Landslides triggered by the October 8, 2005, Pakistan earthquake and associated landslide-dammed reservoirs